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  1. Technology
November 3, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Sun Microsystems Inc has, as reported briefly, introduced a secure version of its SunOS Unix operating system, calling it SunOS MLS for Multi-Level Secure. Running on standard Sun-3 and Sun-4 hardware as well as Tempested versions of Sun products, the new system is an extension of commercial SunOS, Sun’s merge of AT&T’s System V and Berkeley 4.2 Unix. Development work was carried out by wholly-owned subsidiary Sun Federal Inc, which achieved a B1 rating for the operating system, specified by the US Department of Defense security specifications listed in the Orange Book. Sun claims the offering enables it to offer one of the most complete secure distributed computing environments available when using Tempested workstations and fibre-optic networking. Features include a multi-level secure windowing capability, enabling users to manipulate and display data at different classification levels simultaneously – even on the same screen given security clearance – and mandatory access control security principles, using security labels to determine right of access to files or devices. There is also a system wide auditing capability and a method of enforcing hardware password protection. Sun said its primary market for the new software would be government applications, but said that enhanced industrial security was also of increasing concern. First customer shipments are scheduled for June 1989: cost is $3,000 for a two-user licence per workstation.

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